Did you know that, in addition to their medicinal and aromatic uses, essential oils may be used to flavor your food as you cook?
If you find yourself out of fresh or dried herbs or spices, there are many culinary essential oils you can use instead. Such flavors include basil, cardamom, carrot seed, celery seed, cinnamon, clove, coriander, dill, fennel, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, marjoram, mountain savory, nutmeg, orange, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tangerine, tarragon, thyme, and wintergreen.
These oils can be used for the same flavoring purposes as fresh or dried herbs and spices–with caution. Essential oils are highly concentrated, so be sure to add them literally one drop at a time, then stir and taste before adding more. It is easy to overpower a dish with too much essential oil, and if that occurs, there’s not a lot one can do to remedy the situation
A hearty stew might absorb up to 2 or maybe 3 drops of an essential oil such as basil or rosemary; again, taste after adding just one drop, because less might be enough for your taste. Other dishes to flavor with essential oils include casseroles, chicken and other meat or fish dishes, salad dressings, pastas, and steamed vegetables.
The trick with essential oils is to add them near the end of the cooking time, as the heat will evaporate some of the oils. However, you may want to have a bit of cooking time left to temper the intensity of the oils.
In addition, some of the spice oils can be used for baking such items as muffins, cookies, spice cakes, and other hearty desserts.
Certain essential oils can also be used to flavor your drinking water for a little variety. Such oils include peppermint, spearmint, lavender, and any of the citrus oils. Again, these oils are potent, so use sparingly. One drop of peppermint is quite sufficient in a quart bottle of drinking water; shake the bottle before drinking or pouring into a glass. You can use around 2-3 drops of the citrus oils in a quart of water.
For added flavor intensity to your home made lemon or limeade, add a drop or two of the appropriate essential oil.
It is very important to use only high quality, organic essential oils, and I recommend Young Living Essential Oils as the top grower, producer, and distributor of pure, organic, therapeutic grade oils. I am an independent distributor for YLEO; I’ll be posting a link soon so you can order your own essential oils.
Stay tuned for recipes using essential oils, and have fun experimenting!